I’ve found myself looking out my windows regularly today, checking the sky for winged pigs.
I mean, something must be up. Chris Cuomo said something I agree with. (You probably will too.) Flying pigs seems as reasonable an explanation as any, although I suppose it’s also possible that the devil is doing some winter coat shopping.
The former CNN anchor was fired last year after it was learned that he had counseled his brother, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, about how to deal with the multiple accusations of sexual harassment that eventually led to his resignation, and then two women accused Chris himself of sexual misconduct. Now he’s back.
But that’s not the surprising part.
Monday night, he debuted his new show, “Cuomo,” on NewsNation, the cable station formerly known as WGN America.
“[T]his show is going to be different from what I have done in the past because I’m different,” he told viewers in the opener, according to Deadline. And I guess he meant it, at least to some degree, because the following evening he started staying stuff that probably would’ve gotten him fired by the leftists running CNN. (I mean, you know — if he hadn’t already been fired.)
“We’ve gotta get together to stop the dumbing down of America, all right? There was a New York Times piece today that is all kinds of wrong,” he started, referring to this piece from The Times on Monday, titled, “At N.Y.U., Students Were Failing Organic Chemistry. Who Was to Blame?”
“It starts with the headline: ‘Who is to blame?’ Like it’s a gotcha,” Cuomo said. “First, the piece doesn’t come close to answering that question. But that’s not even the big deal. The piece ignores the real issue: Why are we lowering our standards of achievement in this country?”
Cuomo then explained what had happened: NYU fired an organic chemistry professor because, according to them, “He did not rise to the standards we require from our teaching faculty.” In reality, he was fired because 23 percent of his class — 82 out of 350 students — had signed a petition complaining about their grades.
“Now, it would be one thing if the professor were bad,” Cuomo said. “OK, all right, nobody needs that. This is the big time, these kids want to go on, they want to be scientists and doctors, and you gotta have people who are at the top of their game.
“And clearly that’s what the school wants you to think this is about. But there’s a side mention in the piece — doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it means everything, OK? This guy was at Princeton and then at NYU. He was given multiple teaching awards, including ‘coolest professor’ at the school that dismissed him. So I guess he isn’t a bad teacher.”
Cuomo didn’t even mention the fact that the professor, Maitland Jones Jr. (Cuomo also failed completely to mention his name), had what even The Times had to admit was a “storied reputation.” The man literally wrote the book on organic chemistry.
“Dr. Jones, 84, is known for changing the way the subject is taught,” The Times reported. “In addition to writing the 1,300-page textbook ‘Organic Chemistry,’ now in its fifth edition, he pioneered a new method of instruction that relied less on rote memorization and more on problem solving.
That’s the man NYU said “did not rise to the standards we require.”
What standards are those, exactly? Not handing out appropriately soft tissues for entitled Gen Z pre-med students with runny noses? That’s what it sounds like to me — it’s even what The Times seems to imply, which is remarkable in itself.
Even more remarkable: Chris Cuomo and I see (mostly) eye-to-eye on this.
“So then, what’s it about? Often, when something doesn’t make sense, that’s because it’s about something different than it appears. And this is exactly that case,” Cuomo argued. “It’s about the dumbing down of standards. This is ‘everyone gets a trophy’ taken to an exponential level. If it’s hard, make it easier. Can’t get a good grade? Make the grading easier. And this isn’t English Lit., this is organic chemistry, OK?
“If you want to be a doctor or a scientist, you need to master this; that’s why it’s hard,” he concluded. “And it’s always been a course that separates those who do [from those who] don’t have the right stuff.”
You can watch the monologue here:
Well, tie me to a pogo stick and call me a kangaroo; aside from the swipe at English literature classes (which I used to teach), I could almost have written that little speech for Cuomo.
He went on for a minute or so after that arguing that the purpose of education is essentially financial — as if learning from STEM courses how to do things were somehow more important than learning from the humanities whether or not we should do those things. But nobody’s perfect. And what he then said about his daughter, currently in college, helped make up for it.
“We’ve got to teach our kids to be responsible for themselves,” he said. “To work as hard as they can, and not find excuses in the absence of results. It’s called life. All you control is your effort, not the outcome. And if you let these kids change the standard of what their grading is, what are you really teaching them?”
If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to check outside again to see if pigs have learned to fly. And maybe I’ll check the thermometer in hell while I’m at it.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.